Islam Religion Dbq
3/4/11 Islam DBQPer: 4 Islam was a fast spreading religion in a time when Christianity and other religions had already established themselves.Islam gained a reputation as a violent religion when it attacked and conquered areas, and made violent threats.Islam also presented itself as a religion of reward, equality, and protection.
Once Islam had established itself in so many areas, it used other techniques to keep their reign. The Muslims way of spreading and keeping their empire was what made it one of the most studied empires in history.
Violent attacks and threats are a part of the history of Islam. One of the main reasons Islam even got its foot was the attack on Mecca that Muhammad led. Threats were sometimes used as a strategy to convert people, such as when Muhammad told the leader of the Christian Arab tribe: “Obey the Lord and his Apostle, and he will defend you… But if ye oppose and displease them… I will fight against you and take captive your little ones and slay the elder”. (Doc 1) There often did end up being battles between Muslims and the Non-Muslims.
An excerpt from “History Today” said: “Koranic revelation commanded them to “Fight in the cause of God against those who fight you, but do not be the aggressors” (Doc5). The Islamic power was rapidly rising as it continued the conquests. With so much power, many people may have converted out of fear of them. The strong force the Muslims presented was enough to convert many people. Sir Edward Crecy describes the Battle of Tours “everything gave way to their [swords]… all the nations of the Franks trembled at that terrible army… attacked Tours… nd the fury and cruelty of the Moslems towards the inhabitants of the city were like the fury and cruelty of raging tigers. ”(Doc 4). Like any other religion, Islam promised rewards for obeying its laws and believing. The Qur’an says “whoever shall obey God and His Apostle, he shall bring him into the gardens of [Paradise]. ”(Doc 2) Other religions at this time also had some form of heaven, but this seemed much simpler than a Karma cycle, and was very appealing. A life after death has always been a fascinating mystery to many of mankind, and the idea of the paradise is often mentioned in Islam.
Other rewards, like money, were what motivated many conquests in the first place. In the History of the Arabs, it says “the objective in most cases being [riches] and not the gaining of a permanent foothold” (Doc 7). Money was a definite and quick reward, unlike the promise of Paradise. Islam also promised protection and equality in the faith. The idea that men and women of any social class would be considered equal through their faith is cited in the History of the Arabs: “Their leader is like one of them: the low cannot be distinguished from the high, nor the master from the slave.
And when prayer time comes, all wash their hands and feet and humbly pray. ” (Doc 3) This kind of equality within a religion was introduced within Christianity as well. The two religions have many similarities, and a document on how the Christians and other faiths reacted to the new spread of Muslim power would have been useful. To fully understand the effects of the Islam Empire, the way people reacted or did not react to the new power is necessary. These original ideas of the Islam faith were what started the movement that became the vast empire.
Islam gained its original followers not from force, but from the appeal of the religion. The ideology and beliefs are what makes Islam the second most popular religion in the world today. By 750 C. E the Islam Empire had spread all the way from Arabia through Africa to Spain. (Doc 8) They had gotten this far by violence and persuasion. Once they had established themselves, they had to find ways to keep their empire without protest. The reasons this was an empire were the conquests and power the Muslims had over Non-Muslims.
Being a Muslim at this time meant protection, status, and security. The Non- Muslims were given rules they had to follow to secure their protection. A Muslim writer, Syed Ameer Ali writes “The Moslems, on the other hand, required from others a simple guarantee of peace, tribute in return for protection, or perfect equality- on condition of the acceptance of Islam”(Doc 6) Non-Muslims weren’t treated like some other empires had treated the conquered peoples.
They were tolerant, and while they did try and convert many people, they allowed other monotheistic religions to remain. J. J. Saunders in “History Today” says “Mohammed respected the older monotheistic faiths… he called them “People of the Book”… they were not forced into Islam but were allowed to retain their ancestral religion on payment of tribute” (Doc 5) The Islam empire was unlike any other empire because it was not a country that was taking over but a religion.
Therefore it had more potential to succeed because of their tolerance and belief. The spread of the Islam Empire was caused by many factors. Their violent conquests were what initially spread the empire. The rewards and appeal of the religion is what gave it its foothold and converted many people. The tolerance and belief is what kept the empire from crumbling for many years. The Muslims had cracked the code of empires. They knew how to spread and keep an empire quickly. The Islam Empire set its mark on history, and its effect is still seen today.